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Codex - A digital documentation system for archaeological excavations

The Codex (Cologne digital excavation) protocol is a fully digital documentation system for archaeological excavations. By using tablet computers, ohotogrammetry software and geoinformation systems it is possible to move the traditionally paper-based documentation into the digital world. This allows to relate drawings to attributes and metadata and therefore increase the on-site data input by orders of magnitude. Error rates are reduced, and the time-consuming post processing is sped up substantially.



Setup for digital documentation. A Wi>Fi setup allows the fast data transfer between the different devices in use.
Three-dimensional documentation of features and artefact distributions with structure-from-motion software. The models are then used in a GIS environment.
Threedimensional referencing of the 3D-models allows the computing of georeferenced models for documentation. The data is autmatically distributed to the individual devices.

Codex 2023

The current protocoll (edition 2023) uses a PostGIS  database for data storage and handling. Agisoft Metashape processing is controlled by a python script to reduce processing time and error rates.

Changes in the Codex protocol 2023

  • PostGIS Database
  • Python-based processing handling of Agisoft Metashape

Codex 2022

The current protocoll (edition 2022) uses spatialite databases as a centralized data storage file format. Users are connecting to the centrally stored spatialite database and edit the data therein. The spatialite database can be accessed and manipulated simultaneously from different devices such as tablet computers. As a backdrop for drawing, orthophotos are created using Agisoft Metashape. By controlling the data output in the layouting environment of the GIS software, the workflow can be customized to suit the requirements of the exacavation. Also, the automated settings in the data output substantially reduce post-processing time.


Changes in the Codex protocol 2022

  • Centralized data handling (spatialite database)
  • Centralized SFM processing
  • Photography for SFM by DSLR and wireless file transmission
  • Expression-controlled data entry in the drawing environment
  • Situation-controlled visibility settings of objects in the drawing environment
  • Increased automatisation of the print export
  • Reduced error rates